|Endangered Animals of Galapagos Islands Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise|
Researchers say they may be able to resurrect the Pinta Island subspecies by launching a cross-breeding program with 17 other tortoises found to contain genetic material similar to that of Lonesome George, who died June 24 at the Pacific Ocean archipelago off Ecuador's coast after repeated failed efforts to reproduce.
Edwin Naula, director of the Galapagos National Park, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the probability is high it can be accomplished.
"It would be the first time that a species was recovered after having been declared extinct," Naula said.
But it won't happen overnight.
"This is going to take about 100 to 150 years," Naula added.
Scientists took DNA samples from 1,600 tortoises on Wolf volcano, and found the Pinta variety in 17, though their overall genetic makeup varied.
Through cross-breeding, "100 percent pure species" can be achieved, said Naula, a biologist.
He said the 17 tortoises were being transferred from Isabela island, where the volcano is located, to the park's breeding center at Santa Cruz, the main island on the archipelago whose unique flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin's work on evolution. The results are to be published in the journal Biological Conservation, the park said.
The study on Wolf volcano was conducted by Yale University and the Galapagos park with financial help from the Galapagos Conservancy.
In a news release, the park said scientists speculate that giant tortoises from Pinta island might have arrived at Wolf volcano after being taken off by whaling ships for food and later cast overboard.
At least 14 species of giant tortoise originally inhabited the islands' 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off Ecuador's coast and 10 survive.
A visit to Lonesome George became de rigueur for celebrities and common folk alike among the 180,000 people who annually visit the Galapagos.
Before humans arrived, the islands were home to tens of thousands of giant tortoises. The number fell to about 3,000 in 1974, but the recovery program run by the national park and the Charles Darwin Foundation has succeeded in increasing the overall population to 20,000.
Lonesome George's age at death was not known, but scientists believed he was about 100, not especially old for a giant tortoise.
Novemmber 20, 2012.Tamara Lush, The Associated Press . Dolphins shot, mutilated, stabbed; attacks along Gulf Coast a mystery for experts
Over the past several months, dolphins have washed ashore along the northern Gulf Coast with bullet wounds, missing jaws and hacked off fins, and federal officials said they are looking into the mysterious deaths.
The most recent case was of a dolphin found dead off the coast of Mississippi, its lower jaw missing.
Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday they're asking everyone from beachgoers to fishermen to wildlife agents to be on the lookout for injured or dead dolphins — and any unusual interaction between the mammals and people.
"It's very sad to think that anyone could do that to any animal," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal scientist for NOAA's southeast office in St. Petersburg, Florida. "There have been some obviously intentional cases."
Fougeres said five dolphins have been found shot. In Louisiana, two were shot in 2011 and one in 2012. And in Mississippi, three were found shot this year, the most recent one last week, which was first reported by the Sun-Herald newspaper.
Besides the shootings, a dolphin in Alabama was found with a screwdriver stuck in its head over the summer. Another in Alabama had its tail cut off, and that animal survived. Still others were missing fins or had cuts to their bodies.
"I think it is outrageous," said Moby Solangi, the executive director of Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. "These animals are very docile, very friendly and they're very curious. They come close to the boats, so if you're out there, you'll see them riding the bows. And their curiosity and friendship brings them so close that they become targets and that's the unfortunate thing."
Dolphins are among the species protected by the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violators can be fined up to $10,000 per violation and sent to prison for a year.
The California-based Animal Legal Defence Fund said it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever harmed the dolphins.
The gruesome discoveries are heartbreaking for Gulf Coast scientists, who follow the population. Fougeres said that two months before the 2010 oil spill disaster off the coast of Louisiana, dolphins began stranding themselves and that there were unusually high mortality rates — possibly due to a cold winter that year.
Since then, the spill and another cold winter in 2011 have contributed to several deaths within the Gulf's dolphin population, experts say. Investigators have also found discolored teeth and lung infections within some of the dead dolphins.
Since Feb. 2010, experts have tallied more than 700 recorded dolphin deaths.
Experts have also found increased "human interaction" cases, which include dolphins tangled in fishing lines — and the more violent incidents.
Fougeres cautions that some of the dolphin mutilations might have happened after the animal died from natural causes and washed ashore. She said that in the case of the dolphin with the lower jaw missing, someone could have cut off the jaw for a souvenir after the animal died.
"We have to do a necropsy on the animal and collect tissue samples to try to determine whether or not the injury was pre-or post-mortem" she said.
She also said that the increase in cases might be due to NOAA's dolphin stranding network becoming better trained to notice cruelty cases or unusual deaths.
Some have suggested that the deaths are the work of a few angry fishermen who are upset about bait-stealing dolphins. Yet the majority of fishermen say that while dolphins can be annoying, they wouldn't harm the creatures.
"I don't know who to suspect ... I was really sickened when I read about it," said Tom Becker, of T&D Charters out of Biloxi, Mississippi., and head of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association, said he's never had a problem with dolphins.
The mammals tend to swim behind his boat until a fish too small to keep is tossed over the side.
"You'll see him under your boat," Becker said, about the dolphin. "He'll get it before it can reach the bottom. I usually leave the area if they're doing that."
Fougeres said she doesn't think the dolphins are being targeted by a gang of people or even by a lone, sick individual.
"The cases are fairly spread apart," she said. "I don't think there is one dolphin murderer out there."
November 18,2012. Keith Ridler. A P. Monkey dies from blow to head after zoo break-in
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A break-in at Zoo Boise early Saturday left a Patas monkey dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck and police were analyzing blood found at the scene to determine if it came from the monkey or one of two human intruders.
Two males wearing dark clothing were spotted by a security guard at 4:30 a.m. outside the fence near the primate exhibit, police said. Both fled, one of them heading into the interior of the zoo. Boise police used a thermal imager in searching the 11-acre zoo grounds but didn't find the person.
Police said late Saturday that a grey baseball cap with a distinctive skull design found near the site was probably left behind by one of the intruders and it might help in tracking them down.
"I've been here for 15 years and we haven't had anything like this happen," Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns said. "It's unfortunate that we have to let kids know that something like this happens. Monkeys are always among the most favorite animals here."
Patas monkeys, often called the military monkey, have reddish-brown fur with grey chin whiskers and distinctive white moustaches. They are widely distributed across central Africa south of the Sahara Desert and can live more than 20 years in captivity.
During a search of the zoo before dawn, Burns heard a groan that at first he thought sounded human. It turned out to be an injured Patas monkey barely moving near the perimeter fence.
The zoo's veterinarian was called, but the monkey died just before 6 a.m. as it was being examined. A necropsy later determined that blunt force trauma was the cause of death, police said.
An inventory done by zoo staff found no other animals missing or injured. The zoo has one remaining Patas monkey — another male — but it's unclear if it will remain at the zoo or will be sent to another zoo where it can socialize with other Patas monkeys, Burns said.
"They're not endangered in the wild, but there are not many in zoos in the United States," he said. "Monkeys are social animals. We only have one."
The two Patas monkeys came to Zoo Boise about three years ago from Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in Florida. They had an outdoor enclosure during the summer in Boise but were moved indoors to the primate building when colder weather arrived.
Burns said the monkeys hadn't been given names, and he didn't know their ages. The monkey that was killed was about 2 ½ feet tall and weighed about 30 pounds, Burns said.
Burns declined to discuss details of the police investigation, including how the intruder entered the primate building, if the monkeys might have been specifically targeted, or how the monkey ended up near the perimeter fence. The zoo doesn't have surveillance cameras, he said.
"It's very disturbing that someone would intentionally break into the zoo and harm an animal," said Sgt. Ted Snyder of the Boise Police Department in a statement. "We're doing all we can to find who did this."
Amy Stahl of Boise Parks & Recreation said the death shocked zoo workers.
"They're hit hard," Stahl said. "They care for the animals on a daily basis and they care about them deeply."
The zoo was supposed to open at 10 a.m. but remained closed while police gathered evidence, opening about 2:30 p.m.
Novomber 17, 2012. Benjamin Radford. Discovery News 'MYSTERIOUS ANIMAL' ATTACKS BORNEO VILLAGERS
|Face of a Badger Photo by (Corbis)|
According to a news story in The Borneo Post, an unknown animal recently attacked two men working on a farm.
An Indonesian plantation worker and a 75-year-old farmer got the shock of their lives when they were attacked by an unknown animal species in two separate occasions earlier this month. The farmer, Aris Kuna of Kampung Paon Gahat, was attacked by the rare animal while attending to his pepper garden about noon. The foreigner was attacked a week later at a plantation near Kpg Baing while gathering oil palm fresh fruit bunches... The animal that attacked the duo was described as having a "bear and wild boar" resemblance. Fellow workers and villagers who saw the carcass, brought by the Indonesian, could not identify the animal species. “In all my life venturing into the jungle, hunting and such, I’ve never come across this species,” 62-year-old Louis Nyaoi said.
The farmer said that the animal made a strange sound and rushed toward him, at one point standing on its hind legs. The reign of terror—or at least consternation—ended when the farmer, holding a sickle, promptly sliced the creature up. The animal was described as about two feet long, with a long, pig-like snout and long, sharp claws. It also gave off a horrible odor that got much worse after death.
A rare or unknown animal, as the news reports suggest?
Skeptics aren’t so sure. Sharon Hill, a writer at Doubtful News.com, points out that the photo and description “screamed badger” to her—specifically one type of small mammal native to the region, a Indonesian stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), which is related to skunks (hence the “stink” in the name and on the carcass). It matches the animal that attacked the men in nearly every detail.
|Stink badger Photo by (Zoo Club)|
This phenomenon sometimes occurs in the United States, where a common animal has been mistaken for a mysterious or unknown species. Raccoons and opossums, for example, are common throughout North America, yet have been mistaken for monsters on several occasions—usually when stricken hairless with mange or when their decomposing carcasses have washed up on a beach.
Earlier this year a large Atlantic sturgeon washed up on a South Carolina beach, sparking speculation about a beached sea monster, and in 2011 a mangy fox was (briefly) mistaken for the mythical Hispanic vampire beast el chupacabra.
November 17 2012.RENSON MNYAMWEZI KWS: Government to pay snakebite victims in Taita
Victims of snakebite in Taita can now seek compensation after the Government lifted the suspension imposed early this year.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials said Friday that compensation had been suspended after it emerged that the Government was losing huge sums of money to false victims.
Taita Wildlife Community Deputy warden Esther Njeri Muchai said the provision for compensation had been abused by people who lodged false claims.
“Most claims have been suspicious. All the claim forms were always filled by a specific doctor. Whenever we received the forms from the hospital, it was always the same doctor who happened to be on duty every time a snakebite occurred,” she said.
She said in some cases, people cut themselves with razors and claimed to have been bitten by snakes.
Yesterday, Ms Muchai told the County Wildlife Compensation Committee chaired by Wundanyi District Officer David Boen that the Government has rescinded its earlier decision and reinstated compensation on snakebites.
According to the warden, the payment was suspended in February, this year.
During the meeting held in Wundanyi town, the compensation committee approved 17 compensation application claims for victims.
The claims, backdated to July, were as a result of wildlife attacks in the region.
According to KWS and Provincial Administration officials, majority of the cases were of victims of snakebites, and attacks by jackals and wild cats. There were other cases of elephant and buffalo attacks.
Muchai at the same time admitted snakes have become a major threat and called on the local community to clear bushes around their homesteads to avert the menace.
“We’re advising residents to manage their compounds and properly secure their doors as a measure to stop snakes from invading their houses at night,” she added.
Muchai, however, said wildlife conflict has drastically reduced following heavy rains that have been pounding the region in the recent past.
“We have enough water in the park and marauding elephants and buffalos that have been invading people’s settlements are back to the park,” she added.
According to reports on animal conflict in the Tsavo Conservation Area in 2009, elephant attacks led with 1,300 cases followed by buffalos and baboons with 250 in total. Both snake and hippos cases were 150. In 2010, elephants attacks were 900, baboons 180, while lions and snake had a total of 160 cases.
November 16, 2012. Associated Press in Hong Kong. Hong Kong seizes $1.4m of illegal ivory
Customs officers in Hong Kong confiscate 569 pieces of illegal elephant ivory, their second major seizure of tusks in a month
Hong Kong customs officers have made their second major seizure of ivory in less than a month after confiscating more than a tonne of the elephant tusks worth $1.4m (£880,000).
Officers discovered 569 pieces of ivory on Thursday, weighing 1,330kg (2,930 lbs), in a container shipped to a Hong Kong port.
A search of a container from Tanzania yielded 45 bags of unprocessed tusks concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds, said Vincent Wong, a customs divisional commander.
The smugglers used an indirect route, shipping the ivory through Dubai and transferring it from one ship to another.
|Hong Kong customs officers guard 45 bags of unprocessed ivory, which had |
been concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds. Photo: Bobby Yip
The discovery comes weeks after customs officers in Hong Kong made a record seizure of endangered species products, confiscating nearly 4 tonnes of African ivory worth $3.4m, which had been found in two containers.
Smugglers used plastic and beans to conceal the ivory. Wong said the smuggling incidents did not appear to be related.
Wildlife activists blame China's growing presence in Africa for an unprecedented surge in elephant poaching, with most of the tusks believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ornaments.
Authorities are investigating the latest ivory haul. No arrests have been made.
November 16, 2012. ABC. Lion's death ends long-time zoo legacy
|Celesto, a female African lion was 22 years old.|
Pic by Houston Zoo
Celesto was the last of a lion legacy that began in June of 1989 with the arrival at the Zoo of Bruno and Kili, Celesto's mother and father, and Lindi. The three lions had been seized by sheriff's deputies and federal authorities executing a search warrant for illegal drugs on a Kansas farm on October 31, 1988.
Bruno, Kili, and Lindi arrived at the Houston Zoo in June 1989 on loan from the Franklin County, Kansas sheriff's department by way of Topeka Zoological Park. Celesto was born at the Houston Zoo on June 1, 1990.
Every keeper who worked with Celesto over the years agreed she was feisty, stubborn, strong willed, tenacious with a fascinating personality. The dynamics of the social structure of the zoo's lion pride was important to her and she made it clear to everyone who cared for her that her presence was going to be respected if they were going to work with her in that group of lions.
|African Big Savannah Cats|
Over the past two years, the zoo's carnivore keepers and zoo veterinarians monitoring Celesto's health had recorded a marked decline in her kidney function, a condition that is not uncommon in African lions of Celesto's advanced age. Lions in zoos generally live into their late teens but have a much shorter life expectancy in the wild.
Despite a continuing veterinary regimen and the compassionate care and attention of her keepers Celesto's quality of life continued to decline and the grande dame of the Houston Zoo's lion pride was humanely euthanized late Friday morning.
Jeffrey Kofman. ABC New. Slow Loris: Endangered for Being Cute
The slow loris, a tiny creature from the jungle with oh-so-probing eyes, looks like a furry cartoon character. Few had ever heard of this animal until it became a Youtube sensation, attracting millions of views, but that is what's threatening the animal's existence.
Watch the full story on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET
Dr. Anna Nekaris, a primatologist at Oxford Brookes University and one of the world's only slow loris experts, met "Nightline" at one of the few zoos that keeps lorises, the Paignton Zoo in Southwest England. She said this nocturnal primate, found in indo-China, Vietnam and Cambodia, is endangered - up to 90 percent have been wiped out.
For all 10 species of lorises, illegal trade "is their number one threat," she said.
The BBC and Animal Planet followed the elusive and obscure slow loris into the jungle with Nekaris as she studied them on the Indonesian island of Java. She is hoping to find out what can be done to save the slow loris from extinction, and why the loris is the only mammal with a venomous bite - something she found out the hard way six years ago.
"It's not a pleasant experience because, like a snake bite, it can decay and fester and the wound takes quite a long time to heal," she said. "It can throb for days and days. They can bite straight through your fingernail and into the bone."
In Southeast Asia, villagers say a loris bite can be lethal. Nekaris explained that when the animal goes into a "defensive posture," it will raise its arms above its head and squeeze them tightly. This pulls oil from its armpits into its mouth, she said, mixing it with saliva, to deliver its venomous bite. Its growl even mimics a cobra.
But while she was studying its venom, Nekaris also discovered the loris is rapidly disappearing from the jungle, and those heart-melting Youtube videos are part of the problem.
The adorable lorises have become coveted pets, especially in Japan, Russia and the Persian Gulf. On the illegal animal Asia market, Nekaris said their venomous teeth are removed with nail clippers and are sold for $25. When smuggled out of the country, they can be worth thousands.
"People don't understand that these are illegal pets," she said. "They think they can have one. They see it as being cute."
November 14, 2012. GONZALO SOLANO. Associated Press. Rat kill in Galapagos Islands targets 180 million
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The unique bird and reptile species that make the Galapagos Islands a treasure for scientists and tourists must be preserved, Ecuadorean authorities say — and that means the rats must die, hundreds of millions of them.
A helicopter is to begin dropping nearly 22 tons of specially designed poison bait on an island Thursday, launching the second phase of a campaign to clear out by 2020 non-native rodents from the archipelago that helped inspire Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
The invasive Norway and black rats, introduced by whalers and buccaneers beginning in the 17th century, feed on the eggs and hatchlings of the islands' native species, which include giant tortoises, lava lizards, snakes, hawks and iguanas. Rats also have depleted plants on which native species feed.
The rats have critically endangered bird species on the 19-island cluster 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from Ecuador's coast.
"It's one of the worst problems the Galapagos have. (Rats) reproduce every three months and eat everything," said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, a specialist with the Nature Conservancy involved in the Phase II eradication operation on Pinzon island and the islet of Plaza Sur.
Phase I of the anti-rat campaign began in January 2011 on Rabida island and about a dozen islets, which like Pinzon and Plaza Sur are also uninhabited by humans.
The goal is to kill off all nonnative rodents, beginning with the Galapagos' smaller islands, without endangering other wildlife. The islands where humans reside, Isabela and Santa Cruz, will come last.
Previous efforts to eradicate invasive species have removed goats, cats, burros and pigs from various islands.
Pinzon is about seven square miles (1,812 hectares) in area, while Plaza Sur encompasses just 24 acres (9.6 hectares).
"This is a very expensive but totally necessary war," said Gonzalez.
The rat infestation has now reached one per square foot (about 10 per square meter) on Pinzon, where an estimated 180 million rodents reside.
The director of conservation for the Galapagos National Park Service, Danny Rueda, called the raticide the largest ever in South America.
The poisoned bait, developed by Bell Laboratories in the United States, is contained in light blue cubes that attract rats but are repulsive to other inhabitants of the islands. The one-centimeter-square cubes disintegrate in a week or so.
Park official Cristian Sevilla said the poison will be dropped on Pinzon and Plaza Sur through the end of November.
A total of 34 hawks from Pinzon were trapped in order to protect them from eating rodents that consume the poison, Sevilla said. They are to be released in early January.
On Plaza Sur, 40 iguanas were also captured temporarily for their own protection.
Asked whether a large number of decomposing rats would create an environmental problem, Rueda said the poison was specially engineered with a strong anti-coagulant that will make the rats dry up and disintegrate in less than eight days without a stench.
It will help that the average temperature of the islands is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), he added.
The current $1.8 million phase of the project is financed by the national park and nonprofit conservation groups including Island Conservation.
The Galapagos were declared protected as a UNESCO Natural Heritage site in 1978. In 2007, UNESCO declared them at risk due to harm from invasive species, tourism and immigration.
November 13, 2012. Russian woman attacked by wolf, axes it to death
MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Beware of 56-year-old Russian women with axes.
A lone wolf attacked Aishat Maksudova outside her sister's home in Russia's province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus Mountains.
The animal bit the farmer on her arm and her leg and she fell to the ground, crying out for help from other villagers. No one was in earshot. So she reached for an ax she had brought along to repair a fence, and with remarkable aplomb, she hit the wolf over the head several times until his teeth unclenched.
The wolf later died.
Maksudova has become a hero in the Caspian Sea province that lies east of Chechnya. She was still being treated for her wounds Tuesday at a local hospital after last week's incident. Doctors said she is recuperating well.
Nov.13, 2012. Elephant calf raised by woman in Malawi dies
|seven-and-a-half month old orphaned elephant calf |
named Moses takes one of his two-hourly
formula bottle feeds, at his home in
Lilongwe, MalawiAP Photo/Denis Farrell
LILONGWE, Malawi (AP) — An elephant calf that was separated from his herd and raised by a human "mother" for months in Malawi has died.
Jenny Webb, who raised the calf, said it died Monday night "in her arms." She said the elephant had been sick with colic and diarrhea.
In February, Webb adopted the elephant, which had been named Moses after being found in the grasses of a riverbed by game rangers at Vwazi Wildlife Reserve in northern Malawi. She said rangers tried to find his family herd for two days without success and that his mother was likely killed by poachers.
Malawi's national parks did not have the funds to raise the little elephant, so Webb, the founder of the Jumbo Foundation, an orphanage for large animals, cared for him.
November 11, 2012. Emily Sohn. PANDAS KISS BAMBOO GOODBYE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE
Between 80 and 100 percent of livable habitat will disappear from a major panda enclave in China by the end of the 21st century.
Climate change is likely to decimate bamboo populations in an isolated region of China that serves as home for nearly 20 percent of the world’s wild giant pandas.
As a result, according to new projections, between 80 and 100 percent of livable panda habitat will disappear from the region in China’s Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century.
The new findings illustrate how environmental impacts can reverberate through the food web.
“Ninety-nine percent of food that pandas eat in the wild is bamboo,” said Jack Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “If there’s no bamboo, then pandas can’t survive.”
“I think probably there is hope, but only if we take active measures at once,” he added. “If we don’t, then probably not. It really depends on what we will do.”
With fewer than 1,600 individuals left living in the wild, giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. But most panda-conservation research has focused on human impacts, said Liu, who has been studying pandas and their habitats for 17 years.
To find out what kind of influence climate change might have on the adorable fur-balls, he and colleagues zeroed in on the Qinling Mountains, which provides about a quarter of available habitat for wild pandas.
Using a wide range of climate models, the researchers projected likely changes in three main species of bamboo, which make up more than 90 percent of bamboo in the region. Bamboo plants are highly sensitive to temperature changes.
Under every scenario, the researchers report today in the journal Nature Climate Change, dramatic declines in bamboo would likely spell big trouble for pandas. Estimates for how much suitable habitat would disappear ranged from 80 to 100 percent, depending on the climate scenario used.
Despite the relatively large amount of panda habitat currently available in the Qinling Mountains, the region is isolated from other suitable habitats. That means that if their food source were to disappear, pandas that live there would have nowhere else to go. The region’s remoteness also makes it unlikely that new species of bamboo would be able to get their seeds there.
The results suggest that conservationists must consider climate change as well as human impacts when planning how best to protect pandas, Liu said. One possible solution would be to cultivate and plant heat-tolerant bamboo in the region.
But even if researchers find bamboo that will continue to grow with warming, said Stanford ecologist Terry Root, they’d also need to ensure that pandas could get sufficient nutrients from those plants. And that’s not necessarily a sure thing.
Because pandas are so charismatic and popular, Root added, they provide a poignant example of scenarios happening to all sorts of species all over the world.
“Most biologists think we’re standing on the edge of a mass extinction event,” she said. “If pandas can bring attention to that, it’s absolutely fantastic. This is a horrible thing to say, but I think this is a wonderful study because what it’s doing is showing us how we need to actually understand what we’re doing to the climate, because we’re not just doing it to the climate.”
Again and again, ecologists are documenting how changes to one species create domino effects that resonate through the rest of the ecosystem in unexpected ways.
“It’s going on all over the place, we just haven’t noticed it,” Root said. “Actually noticing it in an iconic species like the panda is super unfortunate, but maybe it will get people to understand what’s going
November 10 2012. Rhino poacher jailed in South Africa
A Thai man has been jailed for 40 years by a court in South Africa for organising illegal rhino poaching expeditions.
Chumlong Lemtongthai had been described by officials as a "leading figure" in international rhino poaching.
The sentence is the longest-ever given for poaching in South Africa and has been welcomed by officials.
Wildlife protection campaigners say the demand for rhino horn is driven by its use in traditional medicine in Asia.
In Vietnam and China many believe that ground rhino horn has medicinal properties - although there is no scientific evidence for this - and horns taken to the Middle East are used to make handles for ornamental daggers.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the US will do more to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products, reports the AP news agency.
She told environmental campaigners in Washington that she and President Barack Obama would raise the issue with Asian leaders at a summit next week.
South African magistrate Prince Manyathi ruled that Chumlong Lemtongthai had shown no remorse for his crimes.
Mr Manyathi was also quoted as saying he did not want his children to live in a world where they could only see rhinos in photographs.
Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe said the court's decision was "an appropriate sentence".
It is longer than that given to many murderers in South Africa and is clearly meant as a deterrent, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) welcomed the sentence.
"These higher-level arrests and convictions are critical to disrupting the illegal trade chains used to move rhino horns into illicit markets in Asia," said WWF-SA rhino co-ordinator Jo Shaw in a statement.
A total of 222 people have been arrested for rhino poaching and related activities since the beginning of 2012 in South Africa, with many of their cases currently before the courts.
A record number of rhinos have been killed this year in South Africa, home to most of the world's wild rhino population.
humlong Lemtongthai is believed to be the kingpin of an international rhino horn smuggling ring and is the most prominent smuggler to be convicted since South Africa intensified anti-poaching measures in recent years.
He pleaded guilty to paying people to pose as big game hunters with permits. They were given about $800 (£500) each to go to game farms, take a few shots with small calibre rifles and then pose next to rhinos killed by someone else.
"The hunters were a front for our decision to export rhino horn for trade and not for trophies," he said in a statement to the Johannesburg court.
"I humbly apologise to the court and to the people of South Africa for my role in this matter," he added.
South African authorities currently issue permits to what it terms "bona fide" hunters for trophy hunting. The Department for Environmental Affairs says "a hunting client may only hunt one white rhinoceros within a specific calendar year".
November 8, 2012. BBC. Dog attacks reach 'frightening' levels says animal charity
Nearly one in three UK dog owners has reported being bitten or attacked by a dog, according to an animal charity.
The PDSA estimates that 1.3 million dogs in Britain are exhibiting what it describes as "problem behaviour".
It warns that owners who fail to give their dogs adequate obedience training are making the problem worse.
In a survey more than half of owners said they knew someone who had been bitten or attacked by a dog.
A separate study of children found that nearly two thirds reported having been frightened or scared by a dog's behaviour.
The PDSA says problem behaviour in dogs has reached "frightening" levels, and is calling for children to be taught at school how to be responsible owners.
Growling and snarling
The report acknowledges that in some cases dogs have been deliberately trained to be aggressive.
But it says the primary cause of anti-social behaviour is a lack of socialisation and basic obedience training when the dogs are young.
Examples of problem behaviour included growling, snarling and aggression towards people and other animals.
The survey was carried out by YouGov researchers - who contacted nearly 4,000 pet owners on behalf of the PDSA.
They also contacted hundreds of veterinary surgeons and staff in vets' surgeries.
They found that 24% of the owners who said their dogs exhibited problem behaviour were in Northern Ireland, while 20% were in eastern England.
The area with the least reported problem behaviour was Wales, at 8%.
The research also suggested that a majority of dogs, 61%, had not attended training sessions within their first six months of life.
PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sean Wensley said: "Each year there are awful stories of dogs attacking pets and people, sometimes with fatal consequences.
"Tackling this begins with owners and breeders taking full responsibility for their dogs' behaviour, and adequately socialising and training them from a young age.
"It is also essential that young people understand how to be safe around all pets and learn how to become caring and responsible owners in the future."
The research forms part of the second PDSA animal wellbeing report - which also highlights obesity and lack of health care as major problems for many pets.
The PDSA estimates that 18.5 million dogs, cats and rabbits are being fed unsuitable diets even though their owners know about the health risks.
And the charity warned that an estimated 11.2 million pets are not vaccinated or neutered leaving them at "serious" risk of developing potentially fatal illnesses.
November 9, 2012.Jason Straziuso, The Associated Press. US to increase anti-poaching efforts as elephants, rhinos die in jaw-dropping numbers
|Animal attacks news an elephant grazes in the Maasai|
Mara National park, Kenya.Photo/Ben Curtis,
Speaking before animal activists and several international ambassadors, Clinton told a crowd in Washington on Thursday that poachers are using helicopters, night vision goggles and automatic weapons to hunt down wildlife. She wants world leaders to increase their focus on combating the problem and said that she and President Barack Obama will speak to Asian leaders about it next week at the East Asia Summit.
"Some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation," Clinton said on Thursday, before answering her own question: "Over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread and more dangerous than ever before."
Elephants across Africa are being slaughtered by the thousands for their ivory tusks, which are shipped to Asia, particularly China, and made into ivory trinkets. In Tanzania alone, 10,000 elephants a year are said to be killed by poachers.
|Illegal animal poaching news in Kenya white |
rhino grazes in Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, said Clinton's speech "signifies the will of the United States to tackle the scourge of wildlife poaching and elevates the issue internationally. Now it remains to share awareness with the Chinese and for the U.S. and China to exert joint leadership to lower the demand for ivory before it is too late."
Yao Ming, the oversized basketball star from China, visited Kenya in August to raise awareness in China about the animal deaths required to supply ivory to China's middle class. He is taking part in a film called "The End of the Wild."
|Dangerous animal attacks news elephants gather |
at dusk to drink at a watering hole in Tsavo East
National Park, Kenya.
Elsewhere on Friday, a South African court sentenced a Thai national to 40 years for selling rhino horns. Chumlong Lemtongthai pleaded guilty to paying prostitutes who posed as hunters to harvest rhino horns, which were then sold on Asia's traditional medicine market, according to the South African Press Association. At least 458 of South Africa's endangered rhinos have been illegally killed this year — a record number.
November 08, 2012. Adam Widener. .WANE.COM. UPDATE: Deadly dog to be euthanized
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) UPDATE: The owner of a Mastiff/Pit Bull mix has released control of the dog to Animal Care and Control. It will be humanely euthanized after it attacked a leashed dog being walked, injured the owner of that leashed dog, and killed a cat.
A little after 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, the Bull Mastiff/Pit Bull mix was on the loose around the corner of Kenwood and Parnell Avenue in Fort Wayne. Around that time, a woman let her house cat outside in her yard. The cat was attacked by the loose dog. The woman tried beating and kicking the dog, but it wouldn't let go, and killed her cat.
Struggle for Survival
That dog then ran across the street to its next victim, Angela Diamente’s Boxer. Diamente had been walking her dog and pushing her two-year-old in a stroller. Diamente said the Mastiff/Pit Bull mix went straight for her dog’s neck.
Neighbor Austin Crist saw the attack and ran to help.
“I ran over here and there was blood everywhere so I came over here and helped her and I pushed her two-year-old to safety over by Dairy Queen,” Crist said.
Diamente said she wrestled with the Mastiff/Pit Bull mix for about 10 to 15 minutes. She said she tried to pry its mouth open to free her dog, puncturing the inside of her hands. The dog dragged her across some gravel, which cut up the outside of her hands and knees.
“It got to the point where we got into my neighbor's driveway and it was gravel and I could barely move,” Diamente said. “At that point, I was able to crawl on top of the dog and climb on top of him and I wrapped my whole body around him and got his jaw open. They dragged my dog inside and I stayed like that until the police came.”
Diamente said her Boxer has a lot of muscle torn out of his chest, puncture wounds, is missing part of his right ear, and a lot of holes in his neck. He is on a lot of medication but she said miraculously, he will make a full recovery.
History of Aggression
The Mastiff/Pitt Bull mix, Rello, was taken to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control.
“A dog that is not initially human aggressive, but is animal aggressive, can still be a very dangerous animal,” said Belinda Lewis, director of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. “We don’t take animal attacks on other animals any more lightly than we take a human attack.”
The dog has a previous bite record in Allen County. According to a report, Rello was brought into Animal Care and Control in October of 2012 for attacking and biting chickens in Allen County.
Where's the Owner?
On October 18, the owner at the time of the chicken attacks transferred Rello's ownership to Adan Galvan, a friend. Galvan is said to have known of Rello’s aggressive history.
Randy Thornton, enforcement division supervisor with Animal Care, said Galvan transferred ownership to a young woman on that same day. Galvan is said to have withheld information on Rello’s aggressive history.
That young woman told investigators she was in the shower when Rello escaped on Tuesday. She didn’t know where he went until she saw the story on WANE.com. Thornton said she came forward and has been extremely cooperative with authorities. She has been charged with one count of a potentially dangerous dog and faces up to $2,500 in penalties.
Rello has been surrendered to Animal Care and will be humanely euthanized.
Diamente in the meantime is left with both physical scars on her hands and emotional wounds after the haunting situation that she calls terrifying.
“I didn't want my daughter to watch my dog be murdered in front of her," Diamente said. "So it was just all of those emotions to the point where I just kind of pushed myself as much as I could until I stopped him."
November 07, 2012.The Standard. Crocodile attacks, kills woman
A crocodile killed a woman as she fetched water from Kiambere dam in Mbeere South District.
The woman, 65, and whose identity was not immediately established, was killed by the reptile at 10am on Tuesday.
She died at the same spot where a 16-year-old pregnant girl was killed by a crocodile two months ago while fetching water.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) warden in charge of Embu and Kirinyaga counties Cornelius Muoka said his officers, the police and area residents were searching for the deceased’s body. Mr Muoka said they would kill the crocodile.
He advised residents to use rainwater to avoid endangering their lives at the dams.
“It is unfortunate that the woman died while heavy rain has been pounding the area. KWS and KenGen have completed installing water pipes at strategic points. People should make use of rain water as they wait for the piped water,” he said.
November 5, 2012. Ellen Connolly. GlobalPost. Animal trainer, Benjamin Cloutier, mauled to death by grizzly bears in Montana
|Dangerous animals dagnerous bear JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)|
Two grizzly bears at an animal "casting agency" killed a trainer as he cleaned their enclosure in Montana.
A 24-year-old man was killed by two grizzly bears while he cleaned their enclosure.
Benjamin Cloutier was a trainer at Animals of Montana, a facility that trains captive animals for films, television commercials and public appearances, Reuters reported.
The attack happened on Sunday as Cloutier conducted a routine clean of their enclosure.
A statement from officials at the facility speculated that Cloutier may have fallen or passed out before he was attacked because there were no defensive wounds and he had not used the bear spray he was carrying, AP reported.
"I believe, given all things accounted for, that (Cloutier) was somehow rendered unconscious, whether it be he slipped and hit his head or something else," said Demetri Price, head trainer at Animals of Montana near Bozeman.
"The bears we believed killed him, but we don't believe it was an attack scenario."
But Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said there was no way to prove Cloutier was unconscious when the attack began.
“The body had been attacked so fiercely, there were so many injuries that there was no way — that’s why we’re not going to speculate,” Gootkin said.
Cloutier died of bite and claw wounds that hit major arteries and caused massive blood loss.
Price said Cloutier, who had worked as a trainer at the company since 2008, had been in the bear enclosure hundreds of times.
One of the bears, weighing 500 pounds, had to be killed to enable rescuers to get to Cloutier.
Animals of Montana is a wildlife casting agency, which has snow leopards, African lions, and bears.
"What separates Animals of Montana from the competition is the fact that all of their animals are worked with day in and day out from just days old," according to the company's website.
"They develop a special bond with their training, which in turn eliminates misbehaving, unruly, scared animals."
November 5, 2012. JOHN MULLER and ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@alyssanewcomb) Boy, 2, Dead After Mauling at Pittsburgh Zoo
|African wild hunting dog. The most dangerous|
animals in the African Savannah land
The 2-year-old boy mauled by African painted dogs Sunday fell over the railing on which his mother put him to view the wild animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo, police said.
The boy died after falling 14 feet into the exhibit, said Barbara Baker, director of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Barker said it's unclear whether the boy died from the fall or from the attack.
Zoo officials tried firing darts to scare the dogs away from the child, but the animals, which are pack hunters, did not immediately respond.
The dogs were eventually moved from the exhibit, with the exception of one, which had to be shot after it continued to "be aggressive" to the boy, Baker told a news conference Sunday.
"Unfortunately, by the time EMTs were able to get to him, the boy had passed away," Baker said.
The boy and his mother, 34, Pleasant Hills, Pa., residents who have not been identified, were visiting the zoo just before noon when police say the toddler's mother stood the boy on a wooden railing outside the exhibit. Witnesses say the boy lost his balance and fell into the exhibit.
"There is a railing with a graphic sign. And the child flipped over the top of that railing, and there is also a catch basin to catch things that fall into the exhibit. But apparently the child flipped over that as well," Barker said.
That's when all 11 dogs pounced on the toddler and began to maul him. Witnesses said the scene lasted five minutes, but felt like an eternity.
"We heard screams pretty loudly, and maybe like five minutes had passed by before we heard of what sounded like gunshots," eyewitness Carey Lenz said.
Zookeepers ran into the enclosure, luring seven of the dogs away. Other zoo officials tried to beat the remaining dogs back. The most aggressive dog was shot and killed by a Pittsburgh police officer.
"From what I have heard, this was a pretty horrific scene," police Lt. Kevin Kraus said.
Police said the boy's father arrived on the scene soon after the accident, according The Associated Press.
The zoo has been closed until further notice.
African painted dogs are an endangered species and are about the size of a medium-sized domestic dog, according to the zoo. African wild dogs are also known as cape hunting dogs, spotted dogs and painted wolves. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes.
"They are one of the most aggressive predatory animals in the wild. A zookeeper, a tranquilizer gun could not have helped," said Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo director emeritus.
The Pittsburgh Zoo has raised these dogs since birth, but it's not the first time they've caused trouble. The dogs caused a brief lockdown of the zoo in May after they crawled under a fence to another part of the exhibit. But they never left the exhibit and no one was harmed.
Baker said the Pittsburgh Zoo has never had a visitor death. She said no decision has been made yet about the future of the exhibit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
November 02 2012 JOB WERU and PATRICK MUTHURI. Four ‘poachers’ killed as tusks, weapons recovered
Meru; Kenya. Four suspected poachers have been killed in Mt Kenya region, as the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) steps ups the fight against poaching.
KWS rangers who shot dead the suspects at the Meru National Park and at Solio Conservancy in Nyeri County also recovered a G-3, an AK-47 rifle and 54 rounds of ammunition
Acting Head of Mountain Region Conservation Area Aggrey Maumo said the two were shot dead at 3am Thursday after they entered the electric-fenced Solio ranch, a sprawling private conservancy,.
Solio ranch is home to hundreds of the endangered black rhino species and the white rhino species.
Maumo said the gang of three shot and badly injured one rhino before KWS rangers and ranch workers spotted them.
“They tracked them and a heavy exchange of fire ensued. Two poachers were shot dead and a G-3 rifle loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, a sword and pliers recovered. The third suspect escaped arrest and we are pursuing him,” said Maumo.
Rhino being treated
The KWS officer said veterinary officers were treating the wounded rhino, which he said is recuperating, as rangers pursue the runaway poacher and their agents.
Maumo said the dead poachers are believed to be from the neighbouring Solio and Narumoru areas.
In Meru National Park, an AK-47 rifle, 47 rounds of ammunition, two ivory tusks and two axes were recovered from two suspects who were shot dead.
Meru National Park Senior Warden William Kiptoo said one was killed on the spot. The other escaped with bullet injuries and died later. “I appeal to the residents living near the park to give information when they see suspicious people,” he said.
Security operation commander in the Meru Conservation Area Peter Lokitela said they are still tracking the poachers who escaped during the shootout.
Kiptoo said several elephants have been killed by poachers within Meru National Park in the last year, adding that the rangers have intensified the fight against poaching.
“We have been able to recover more than five firearms and more than 400 rounds of ammunition in the last one year,” said Kiptoo.
Meanwhile, officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) have recovered 28 elephant tasks valued at over Sh25 million and arrested four suspects.
According to the unit’s commander Said Mohammed, the trophies were recovered on Wednesday night following an operation organised by SCPU and the flying squad officer.
Mohammed said 12 tusks were recovered in Makindu area and four in Nairobi. “We have been working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service in the operation. We further managed to recover 12 more trophies in Eastleigh following a tip off from our informers,” he said.
October 31, 2012,TNN. 'Give forester killed in tiger attack status of martyr'
JAIPUR: Stunned by the sudden death of assistant forester Gheesu Singh in a tiger attack on last Thursday, the Rajasthan Forest Subordinate Services Union has demanded status of martyr for all foresters who die on duty. The union has given a written memorandum to chief minister Ashok Gehlot and forest and tourism minister Bina Kak.
Gheesu Singh was attacked by a tiger while he was on duty at the Ranthambore national park. The tiger, identified as T-24, pounced on him, caught him by the neck and dragged him away to a bush about 25 metres away. Reports suggest that Gheesu Singh was walking between two groups of labourers who had gone to the forest to repair a road. Singh died instantly.
According to sources in the forest department, "The union has demanded the status of martyr on the lines of policemen who are granted the status when they die on duty. Our services are equally fraught with danger. We have to often go into perilous terrains to protect forests and wildlife. In such a situation we must also be given the status of martyr if any of us gets killed on duty."
Gheesu Singh was a resident of Amrapura village on the Samod Ki Balaji road in Chomu. He is survived by three sons, an aging father and a wife. "I have been to his house and the family's condition is pathetic. Gheesu Singh was the only earning member in the family. His youngest son is paralyzed and terminally ill. His eldest son is pursuing graduation while the other is in class X. His father is 80 years old," said Rajpal Singh, member of state wildlife board.
So far Gheesu Singh's family has been given Rs 20 lakh as a special measure by chief minister Ashok Gehlot and another Rs 4 lakh by forest department and the Ranthambore hotels association. Kak has also promised a government job for the next of kin of Gheesu Singh.
In fact, the first voice for status of martyrdom was raised by DV Durrani of the Sariska Tiger Foundation. On the day of the attack Durrani demanded that the state call Gheesu Singh a martyr. "Gheesu Singh was a dedicated and a committed person. Moreover, he was on duty when the tiger attacked him. In such a situation policemen are given the status of a martyr so why should foresters not be treated similarly. More often than not they are exposed to similar or even more dangerous situations," he said.
The demand for martyr's status for Gheesu Singh, the first forester to be killed in such a manner, has been gaining ground since the past week. "Even I will suggest to the state government as a member of the state wildlife board that in cases where an exemplary forester is killed on duty he should be given the status of a martyr and all such facilities that are given to a martyr should be granted to them as well," added Rajpal Singh.
October 31, 2012. Joseph Muchiri. The Standard. Dawn hippo attack in dam leaves girl dead
EMBU, KENYA: A girl was on Monday morning mauled to death by a hippopotamus as she fetched water from Masinga dam in Kaseveni village, Mbeere South District.
?Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer in charge of Embu and Kirinyaga counties Cornelius Muoka said the same hippo had killed three other people and injured two others in three months.
Maria Wayua was attacked at 6am while heading home from the dam to prepare breakfast before going to school.
Muoka said the hippo ambushed the Standard Four pupil at Kaseveni Primary?School in a secluded area.
KWS officers then camped near the dam to track the hippo but were unsuccessful.
“We have been trying to shoot the killer hippo but every time it dives into the dam. We are still searching for it,” said Muoka.
The body was taken to Embu Provincial General Hospital mortuary.
Many people have died in the area from attacks by crocodiles and hippos from the dam.
KWS has started piping water in a Sh5 million project, while the government of Hungary has initiated a similar project to protect lives.
October 22 2012. The Standard. Michael Chepkwony His passion for wildlife saved a rare antelope from poachers
When the rest of Nandi County residents were celebrating the migration of the rare Sitatunga antelopes to Kingwal swamp in the county, Matthew Kiplel Maiyo thought otherwise.
For hunters, it meant a delicious game meat on the tables while for the crop farmers it was a curse as the animals had arrived to ruin their crops in the shambas.
Saving the antelopes
It was in 1999 that the rare wild animals camped at kingwal swamp in Tulon Location, Nandi Central District and several places within the county.
“I was in Kingwal River and saw two antelopes basking near the swamp. I had heard many talking about the animals and when I saw them, I found it was attractive,” 65-year-old Mr Maiyo notes.
He says majority of hunters began to hunt the animals. “Dogs would chase them and catch one of the female antelopes. The male ones are dangerous and retaliate when hunted and were hardly killed,” he quips.
The hunting continued for a length of time till ten of them remained prompting Mr Maiyo to report to Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in time.
“I went to KWS offices in Kapsabet and reported to the then warden, Ms Christine Boit. The officers acted immediately by halting any hunting of the animals and deployed four of its officers to the area to conduct a research aimed at establishing facts about the animals,” he says. “The officers were sent to me and we worked together in gathering facts and taking photographs of the animals.”
They found out that there were about 14 antelopes at the swamp. The female antelopes had greatly declined.
The report handed to Ms Boit, became a blessing to Mr Maiyo who was then working as a security officer at KBC in Nairobi. He was recommended to be hired as one of the officers to guard the animals that were in danger of extinction.
“I was surprised when I was told that KWS had accepted to hire me as one of their officers. I gladly accepted because that was what I felt I could do best,” he quips.
The report of Sitatunga antelopes was dispatched to KWS headquarters in Nairobi which was then gazetted in East Africa Wildlife Service in 2001.
“Before gazettment, KWS had conducted sensitisation programme and the residents had stopped hunting the animals,” he explains.
The same year, Maiyo was confirmed as a KWS officer and was immediately deployed at kingwal swamp where he executes his duties up to date.
“I ensure no hunting of any kind takes place near or at the swamp and also curb any pollution,” he told The County Weekly. However, the protection of the antelopes is yet to benefit the residents through the tourism industry.
Early September this year, KWS, Federation of Community Tourism (FCT), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), and World Bank (WB) toured the region to strategise on establishing tourism centre.
KWS Nandi County chief warden Joel Kanda, KEFRI officer Charles Koech, WB representative Erik Siele and chair of FCT Paul Chelugei Lelei educated residents on the importance of conserving swamps and protecting acquatic antelope species in the area.
On his part, Mr Kanda lauded the efforts of Maiyo in ensuring that the animals are protected and said the residents will reap from the conservation soon.
“In three years’ time, tourism will be booming in this county because of the antelopes,” he observed during the visit.
According to KWS statistics, Nandi County is leading with the number of Sitatunga antelopes believed to be about 500 in number.
Mr Maiyo says: “I believe that if everyone would do what is good in every small way, the world will be a good place to live.”
He explains that initially, residents branded him traitor when he spearheaded the conservation of the animals but perceive him now as a hero after they realised benefits were forthcoming.
“When residents realised they will benefit through tourism, they began to see the wisdom in what I did,” he points out.
October 11, 2012. Tanner Hawkins.The Daily Free Press. Boston mayor wants pit bull legislation to stay
After a recent pit bull attack left one teenager injured, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino began lobbying to keep an ordinance requiring pit bulls in Boston to be muzzled in before it is replaced by a new state animal law banning breed-specific legislation.
“The mayor believes this is a community rights issue,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Menino. “The state went forward with its action to ban breed-specific legislation without first consulting with or seeking input from the cities and towns that would be affected by this.”
The mayor believes this is an issue that directly affects the citizens of Boston, Guilfoil said.
On Oct. 5, two pit bulls escaped from their owner, attacking and biting a teenager and killing a cat. One dog was shot but not killed and both are in the custody of Boston Animal Control. The fates of the dogs will soon be determined.
In response to the attack, Menino vowed to work to help keep the people of Boston safe from canine attacks, Guilfoil said.
“We’re not trying to say that a specific breed of dog is all bad per say,” Guilfoil said. “I know that all breeds of dogs and all manners of animals can attack, but if you look at the numbers and look at the incidents in the city and a number of cities around the country, this particular breed has been responsible for a lot of them.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed an amended Animal Control Act in August, which redefined the term “dangerous dog.” The Animal Control Act states that no dog can be deemed dangerous solely due to its breed, making breed-specific legislation unenforceable.
“When we came with this bill we wanted to make it breed neutral,” said Reginald Zimmerman, a spokesperson for Patrick. “That’s why we support it. It’s not breed specific.”
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agrees with breed neutrality in legislation, said MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin.
“It’s our view that those laws do not make pit bulls safer or other dogs safer or people safer,” Halpin said. “We should be looking at people and the behavior of dog owners and ensuring that we have dogs in the hands of responsible dog owners.”
An argument against pit bulls is that they are responsible for many attacks within the city.
Halpin said these statistics leave out the point that there are many more pit bulls in the densest areas of Massachusetts than there are other breeds of dogs. Consequently, there sometimes appear to be more instances in which pit bulls bite because there are simply more pit bulls, he said.
“We should stop blaming the particular breed of dog for attacks because it’s our position that there is no such thing as an inherently violent dog,” Halpin said.
Halpin said public prejudice toward a specific breed of dog often results from a series of attacks the media focuses on.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers were viewed as aggressive dogs and were “unfairly cast,” he said.
“What we try to do is try to shine a spotlight on the aspects of pit bulls that are great,” he said. “They’re loyal, they’re great family dogs, they have a lot of energy, they’re great for active people.”
Menino can potentially still institute muzzle laws, Zimmerman said.
He said the city could apply for a Home Rule Petition, which allows a specific area to be held exempt from a particular piece of legislation.
If a Home Rule Petition is granted, Menino can further his work towards requiring the muzzling of pit bulls in public.
“As a city we have to make sure that people are safe, and we believe that the law we have on the books helps keep people safe,” he said. “We will work aggressively to try to maintain some of our rights as a community to deal with this public safety issue.”
October 11, 2012. Suzan Clarke. ABC News. Amazing Image: Eagle Snatches Crocodile From Riverbank
|Dangerous animal attacks news Eagle Snatches Crocodile in Tanzania|
From Riverbank beautiful amazing picture by Mark Sheridan-Johnson
The African fish eagle's diet usually consists of fish and small mammals, but that's not always the case.
An image shot by a safari guide shows the powerful bird snatching up a juvenile Nile crocodile from the banks of a river in Tanzania.
The fully grown Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous predators in Africa. Its diet is varied, and includes fish, zebras, cattle, sheep, young hippopotami, birds, other crocodiles and humans, but until it grows to adulthood, the young crocodile is also prey.
The takedown happened inside the Selous Game Reserve, and was photographed by Mark Sheridan-Johnson, the Telegraph newspaper reported.
Sheridan-Johnson told the paper that he took the photo on his day off.
"I didn't have any clients to take out that day so I was driving in my Land Cruiser looking for interesting wildlife to photograph," he said, adding that he'd never before seen a bird take a crocodile in his nine-year career as a guide.
Another image taken by Sheridan-Johnson shows that the unlucky crocodile had itself been hunting just before it was snatched. The reptile had a fish in its mouth even as the eagle was swooping down upon it.
It was not clear when the images were taken.
October 08, 2012.David M. Ewalt, Forbes. Animal Rights Group Attacks Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse
Animal rights group PETA has condemned the Pokémon media franchise and video game series, saying it “paints a rosy picture of what amounts to thinly veiled animal abuse.”
The Pokémon series tells the stories of young “trainers” who befriend wild critters called Pokémon, help them grow stronger, and coach them through a series of non-fatal sparring matches against other trainers.
In a statement released on October 8, the day after Nintendo released Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, the latest games in the franchise, PETA blathered:
"Much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments. The way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods …if PETA existed in Unova, our motto would be: Pokémon are not ours to use or abuse. They exist for their own reasons. We believe that this is the message that should be sent to children."
Aside from the fact that this is clearly a lame attempt to attract publicity on the back of a major video game release (which is why I’m not linking to their site, and you shouldn’t look for it, either) PETA seems to have missed the single biggest theme of the Pokémon series: That Pokémon should be treated humanely and live as our equals. The games are loaded with an endless stream of characters who go on and on about true friendship between man and Pokémon. It’s so saccharine and so completely the opposite of what PETA suggests that it boggles the mind.
As part of the campaign, PETA also developed and released a flash-based parody game which it calls “Pokémon Black and Blue.” It is awful.
Last November, PETA attacked video game icon Mario for wearing “fur” –the Tanooki Suit, a frequent power-up in Mario games that grants the ability to fly.
PETA did not disclose in its statement how many actual, living, breathing animals died waiting for rescue while the organization spent its time and money campaigning against fiction.
DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council will consider a proposal to upgrade the city’s ordinances on dog attacks in the coming weeks.
The proposal specifically outlaws a dog attacking people, dogs or other animals. Under the proposal, the owner of a dog that attacks or attempts to attack would be fined at least $500. City Manager Mark Biernacki described the ordinance as being a sliding scale.
“Penalties and so forth would increase depending on the severity of the dog-running-at-large issue,” Biernacki said.
The City Council will discuss the proposal at their committee-of-the-whole meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.
Severe attacks or egregious behavior would have the case referred to the DeKalb County State’s Attorney, who can prosecute the dog as a dangerous or vicious animal. These two designations have their own sets rules and prohibitions under the Illinois Animal Control Act.
The owner of an attacking dog would have to pay restitution for out-of-pocket expenses for any injury or damage caused by the dog.
The owner of a dog found off-leash while not on the owner’s property could be fined between $100 and $500. A lighter fine would only be levied if the dog does not harm other people or animals.
Currently, there is no “middle ground” in the city ordinance on dog bites, Police Chief Gene Lowery said in a previous interview. The ordinance also does not address dogs that attack other dogs. In 2011, Lowery said the police department received 75 barking dog complaints, 33 dog bite complaints and 229 dog-running-at-large complaints.
In September, the Daily Chronicle profiled Doris Sernovitz, a woman whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s dog when it escaped from its backyard. The offending dog was later euthanized at the owner’s discretion.
Sernovitz said she thinks any ordinance concerning dog attacks should address euthanasia for vicious dogs. If the dog is not euthanized, then a sign stating that a vicious dog lives on the property should be posted.
“If a dog mauls someone or kills another animal, I think the dog should be put down,” Sernovitz said.
Illinois law prohibits breed-specific legislation, but home rule cities like DeKalb could pass such an ordinance. However, city documents state that such ordinances have “significant concerns about the practicality and enforceability of breed-specific laws.”
October 5, 2012.Ned P. Iohude. Journal News. Mamaroneck dog that killed neighbor's pet has violent past
MAMARONECK — The dog that attacked and killed a neighbor’s dog last week has a record, it turns out.
Detective Sandra DiRuzza of the Mamaroneck village police said Friday that the dog, owned by Dave Rigano and described variously as a pit bull and an American staffordshire terrier, attacked and wounded another dog in April.
The victim of that bloody attack suffered wounds to its neck but survived. DiRuzza had earlier said she wasn’t aware of any prior violent incidents involving Rigano’s dog. She said residents later called her attention to the spring attack.
Rigano has been charged with one count of dangerous dog attack on a domestic animal following the Sept. 26 incident that killed Ane, a 1-year-old coton du tulear, and cost Ane’s owner, 75-year-old Josephine Catalfamo, part of one of her fingers.
Rigano is due in court Tuesday. Based on the dog’s history of violence and the fact that the most recent attack proved fatal to another animal, the judge could declare it a dangerous dog and, in theory, order it euthanized.
Records show the area’s judges tend to shy away from issuing the harshest of penalties in dangerous dog cases.
Attorney and dog owner Alfred Laub, whose White Plains firm represents dog-bite victims, has told The Journal News, “Even though there is a process for holding owners accountable or taking a dog into custody and following through with euthanasia, there seems to be a reluctance to do that.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite more than 4.7 million people.
(eTN) - While in Canada for an official state visit, Tanzania President Kikwete found himself in a tight spot, when challenged by the media over the hugely controversial Serengeti highway plans that his government had floated in 2010. The road would cut the migration route of the wildebeest towards the Kenyan Masai Mara, where his government has steadfastly refused to open the Bologonja border post, ostensibly to “keep the Kenyans out of the Serengeti.” Some weeks ago, conservationists blamed Tanzanian park officials to have deliberately created fires in the Serengeti to prevent the large herds from completing their annual migration to the Kenyan Masai Mara, a claim swiftly denied by SENAPA and TANAPA officials, though the fires were in itself not disputed, only the interpretation.
With the case in court at the East African Court of Justice, where the Tanzanian government has failed to stop the case on a variety of grounds, the road plans have dented Tanzania’s credibility as a conservation nation, and added equally controversial projects on Lake Natron, the Coelacanth marine national park near Tanga. and uranium mining and a huge dam project in the Selous are only increasing the woes.
President Kikwete’s explanations sounded as weak as mitigating pleas normally do, especially as the alternate Southern route would reach 4 times as many people and would be financed by both the World Bank and the German government, offers, however, not accepted by the Tanzanian government up til now.
Critics claim that Kikwete was under pressure by contributors to his last campaign to deliver on promises allegedly made, connecting the Lake Natron flats and the mining concessions between the Serengeti and Lake Victoria to a major paved road, so that new mines could be opened and a soda ash factory established within the breeding grounds of the East African lesser flamingos.
To make matters worse, one of his self-styled mouth pieces, a Mr. Edward Porokwa, gave away the game when he openly spoke out against Kenyan cattle buyers who are allegedly cheating Tanzanian livestock sellers with artificially low prices for lack of alternate roads. Such talk is likely to negate President Kikwete’s goodwill visit three weeks ago to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where he was attempting to court public opinion and dispel constant murmurs that Tanzania’s attitude to her neighbors was far from friendly – allegations supported by regular non-tariff barriers being slapped on Kenyan traders and businesses.
Comparisons by Porokwa with other highways crossing national parks were also considered a dismal failure in justifying the highway across the Serengeti, as in Mikumi National Park where the loss of game through road kills continues to be high and the recent experience with a new road in Kenya between Emali and Kimana also showed a sharp increase of game being run over by trucks, now that the road is paved.
The objections of the conservation fraternity remain, and the Tanzanian government has done little to absorb the wave of global opposition and seriously consider the Southern route alternative and President Kikwete’s performance was also all but a failure to convince the world that this particular route was needed for anything else but to please powerful economic interest groups at the expense of tourism and conservation.
October 3, 2012. Severin Carrell, Guardian.co.uk. Plans to issue warning over game meat risks delayed
|The FSA was expected to warn against eating game such as deer, grouse, |
pheasant and boar which had been killed with lead shot.
Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
The Food Standards Agency has suspended plans to warn pregnant women and young children about the health risks of eating game shot with lead ammunition, prompting confusion and dismay among campaigners.
The agency, which issues official guidance to consumers, had been expected to issue a statement on Wednesday warning vulnerable groups against eating game such as deer, grouse, pheasant and boar killed with lead shot.
It was also expected to advise other adults who regularly ate wild game shot with lead pellets to cut their consumption to avoid serious lead poisoning.
The lead ammunition group, the government's advisory panel, decided on Tuesday to release the guidance, but that decision has been overturned. Sources close to the panel said no clear reason had been given.
The panel – which includes the UK's main shooting and conservation bodies such as the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, and the Countryside Alliance – had been investigating the issue since its inception in 2009.
Debbie Pain, conservation director of WWT and an authority on lead shot in game birds, who has played a key role in formulating the advice to consumers, said: "They've now said they're delaying publication but I don't know what that means. Is it a week or a month? I have no idea at all."
A study by the European Food Standard Agency published in July and based on studies of 144,000 food samples collected over a nine-year period from across the EU found very high levels of lead in pheasant and boar. Although those meats are not often eaten in the UK, the results were so high they skewed the overall findings for all meat products tested.
The EFSA report said: "Particularly high results were recorded for wild boar meat and pheasant meat, presumably associated with the use of lead ammunition. The many high results for wild boar meat skewed the distribution for this food category so that the mean exceeded the 95th percentile."
Expert studies by the UK government's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) presented to the lead ammunition group cited grouse, duck, partridge and deer as potential sources of lead poisoning for consumers in the UK. The use of lead shot in duck-shooting was banned in the UK in 1999 but was still widespread, the agency said.
An FSA spokesman said the decision to suspend publication had been taken "this week". He confirmed that the warnings "will be about lead and exposures to lead and advice for people lessening their exposures to lead. It will be directed at the small number of people who eat lead shot game on a regular basis."
He added: "We're not publishing it today. It is still under review and we still haven't quite got it ready yet. We're looking to be publishing something on lead ammunition and small birds and larger animals but we not publishing today."
He said the FSA had not yet decided when the advice would be published, but that it would appear "shortly".
The Fera report, given to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010, said evidence on the scale of the risk to consumers from contaminated game was unclear and inconsistent, but there was a consensus that no levels of lead in food were safe.
It stated: "Humans that eat game animals that have been shot with lead ammunition are at risk of poisoning from the fragments of bullets or pellets that remain embedded in the meat or in other edible tissues; the risk from biologically-incorporated lead in game appears to be low.
"Radiographs of shot deer have shown that when a lead bullet breaks up on impact some fragments are too small to be visible to the unaided eye and would probably be retained in the meat after butchering. People in communities that depend heavily on hunting for subsistence are likely to be most exposed."
September 30, 2012. SALYAN, Two injured in tiger attack
Two persons were injured in an attack by a tiger at Srinagar market of Khalanga VDC of Salyan district Sunday morning.
Dipendra Basnet, 54, and Urmila BK,39, of Shitalpati, Salyan were attacked by the tiger at around 5:15 this morning in front of their home.
Following a commotion over the incident, the locals gathered and killed the tiger.
The injured are undergoing treatment at local Kantipur community hospital, according to the District Police Office, Salyan. RSS
September 22, 2012. Patrik Jonsson, Bronx zoo tiger attack: Man lives, big cat is forgiven
Survivors of tiger attacks often hold no animosity. As he lay injured from a tiger bite, entertainer Roy Horn whispered, 'Make sure no harm comes to Montecore.' Likewise, the tiger that mauled a man who jumped into his enclosure at the Bronx Zoo will not be euthanized.
ATLANTA. Bashuta, the 400-pound tiger who mauled a man who jumped from an elevated train into the Bronx Zoo Wild Asia exhibit Friday, “did nothing wrong” and won’t be euthanized, zoo officials say.
The acknowledgement that the 26-year-old man was the culprit and the big cat was only acting out its nature isn’t uncommon in tiger attacks. In a long line of tiger attack cases, survivors tend to blame themselves or other factors, not the cats. Some victims even mourn when big cats are put down after an attack.
After the entertainer Roy Horn in 2003 nearly died after being bitten in the neck by Montecore, a tiger he had raised since it was six months old, he told assistants, “Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecore.” (Mr. Horn performed with Montecore again in 2009 as part of a “20/20” program.)
And a British woman who was mauled by a zoo tiger 30 years ago now raises money to help protect endangered cats around the world.
“I said I didn't want the tigress destroyed because I didn't think it was a vicious attack – she was just being herself and didn't do anything out of character,” Janet Coghlan told the BBC in 2010. "But sadly a few months later, she was destroyed."
In one of the most notable recent tiger attacks, three men were attacked, and one of them killed, in 2007 by a female cat, Tatiana, at the San Francisco Zoo. Tatiana had bitten a zookeeper a year earlier. After the first incident, Tatiana was allowed to live because, as then-director Manuel Mollinedo said, “The tiger was acting as a normal tiger does.”
Police shot and killed Tatiana after the tiger turned on them in the aftermath of the multiple maulings she inflicted on three men, one of whom later acknowledged taunting the animal.
"As a result of this investigation, [police believe] that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," wrote Police Inspector Valerie Matthews in an affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims.”
Bashuta, an 11-year-old tiger and one of 10 on hand at the Bronx Zoo, watched Friday as a man named David Villalobos jumped into the enclosure from an elevated train that runs around the exhibit perimeters. The tiger attacked Mr. Villalobos, breaking his arm and a leg and biting him on his arms, legs, shoulders and back. Within 10 minutes, zoo keepers had shooed Bashuta off with the help of a fire extinguisher. Villalobos is in stable condition at a local hospital.
Zoo director Jim Breheny said the zoo would review its safety procedures, but was quick to absolve Bashuta from blame.
“We review everything, but we honestly think we provide a safe experience," Mr. Breheny told the Associated Press. "And this is just an extraordinary occurrence … somebody was deliberately trying to endanger themselves."
“The tiger,” he added, “did nothing wrong in this episode.”
|Staffordshire bull terriers are sometimes kept as |
'status dogs', but the defence counsel said they
were like family to Brown.
Photograph: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian
The owner of two dogs which savaged 10 people in a "horrific and nightmarish" street attack has been jailed for 12 months.
Spencer Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of owning dogs which were dangerously out of control in a public place.
The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, Tilly and Freak, escaped from his home in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on 22 July.
Passers-by suffered bites to their hands, arms and legs as the dogs marauded around the area without leashes, while those who came to the victims' aid were also bitten. Police eventually managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole while a passer-by dragged the other one into a cage.
Weeks before the attacks, on 16 May, a man suffered multiple cuts, wounds and a broken finger after one of the dogs attacked him during a confrontation between him and Brown. Jason Griggs, has been left scarred and unable to work as a self-employed electrician since the attack.
Brown, an unemployed father of one who has eight previous convictions for offences including theft and shoplifting, admitted owning a dog which caused injury in a private place in relation to the attack on Griggs, and possession of cannabis.
Neither dog was banned but police recommended they both be destroyed on the basis of reports from the kennels where they were being held that they remained aggressive.
Jailing Brown at Lewes crown court on Friday, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said they were "grave and quite horrific" offences which had left victims "savagely mauled".
The sentencing comes days after guidelines were introduced for judges dealing with people convicted of being owners of dangerously out-of-control dogs which harm others in public. The guidelines provide for tougher sentences which could lead to more offenders being jailed or given community orders, and fewer discharged. Owners, or anyone in charge of such a dog, would face up to 18 months' jail, or a legal maximum of two years in exceptional cases.
Ordering the destruction of the dogs, Scott-Gall said: "Without rhyme or reason or cause from any members of the public, the dogs acted in tandem and indulged in a terrifying orgy of violence against wholly innocent members of the public who were lawfully going about their business on a warm July evening.
"It must have been terrifying for them to see these large and feral dogs running amok and attacking anyone they could get close enough to sink their teeth into."
He banned Brown from owning dogs for life, saying he was not a fit and proper person to control such an animal, let alone own one.
Brown was facing a summons to appear in court over the attack on Griggs when the dogs assaulted the 10 people weeks later having escaped from Brown's home via an open window while he was out.
Mark Glendenning, defending, said Brown wanted to apologise for both "unpleasant" attacks.
Before the incidents, there had been no concerns about the care or conduct of Freak or Tilly, he said. While Staffordshire bull terriers were sometimes seen as "status dogs", this was not Brown's reason for owning them.
Brown had a difficult upbringing, having been asked to leave home aged 15 and spending time homeless before being housed by social services in bed and breakfast accommodation.
"The dogs were his family. He never took the dogs off a leash. They were always leashed. He is aware of the difficulties of Staffordshire terriers.
"Subsequently, he tells me that once introduced to other people the animals are well behaved and he has had those animals for three to four years and there has never been any complaint of misconduct."
Wild Animal Attacks News
September 28, 2012. ANDY NEWMAN.The New York Times. Sick Dolphin, Stranded in Queens, Dies on Arrival at Rescue Center
A female common dolphin, six feet long and nearly 140 pounds, bobbed ashore at Far Rockaway, Queens, on Friday morning and flopped onto the beach.
For several hours, as police officers poured water on her and rescuers raced west from a marine-mammal stranding center 65 miles away, the dolphin clung to life. She was loaded onto a truck and taken to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation on Long Island.
But as the rescuers prepared to transfer her from a stretcher into a tank, the dolphin died, said Robert DiGiovanni Jr., the Riverhead Foundation’s executive director and senior biologist.
The dolphin was first spotted on the sand around 9:30 a.m., at the end of Beach 19th Street, the police said.
Mr. DiGiovanni said the dolphin, a subadult, had probably been sick for some time. She was underweight and had barnacles growing on her tail fin, or fluke, “which indicates an animal that wasn’t moving very fast.”
As dolphins are mammals and breathe air, they can survive for some time out of the water. This dolphin, though, “wasn’t fighting that much, which is always a concern for us,” Mr. DiGiovanni said.
It was unclear what caused the dolphin to move ashore, Mr. DiGiovanni said.
“Strandings occur for a variety of different reasons,” he said. “Sometimes they have a specific cause, a stressor in the environment.”
In this case, Mr. DiGiovanni said, “Maybe she was in an area and just didn’t want to swim anymore.”
The cause of the death, around 3:15 p.m., awaits a necropsy.
The Riverhead Foundation, based in Riverhead, handles about 50 reports of beached marine mammals a year, Mr. DiGiovanni said. Most of the animals are dead by the time they are reached.
“It’s uncommon for us to get a live animal, so whenever we do get that we go to great lengths to try to nurse them back to health,” he said. “Unfortunately, often when we get them back to the facility and they’re too compromised.”
Randy Leonard and Wendy Ruderman contributed reporting.
A version of this article appeared in print on 09/29/2012, on page A21 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Sick Dolphin, Stranded in Queens, Dies on Arrival at Rescue Center.
|Facts about sharks Australia is the highest ranked|
nation in terms of fatal shark attacks with 217
deaths since 1580. Pic by hermanusbackpackers
The A$6.85m ($7.12m, £4.41m) package includes funding for catching and if necessary killing sharks "posing an imminent threat" to beachgoers.
Other funding is allocated to tagging and research programmes.
There have been six shark attacks on swimmers and surfers in the state this year, five of them fatal.
The most recent was last month, when a man suffered abdomen and arm injuries in an attack about 1,000km (600 miles) north of state capital Perth.
The series of attacks has prompted calls for a shark cull, but the authorities have ruled out that option following protests from environmental groups.
Several of the recent attacks are believed to have involved great white sharks, which are protected.
In the past, fisheries authorities had only sought to kill great whites in response to an attack.
Now they would be allowed to take "proactive action" if a shark presented an imminent threat to people, a statement said.
Tagging systems that included the use of real-time GPS tracking would also be funded, as would more research, jet skis for lifesaving and a community awareness programme.
"These new measures will not only help us to understand the behaviour of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer," State Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement
October 3,2012.Bryan Nelson. Should Sharks Swimming Near Popular Beaches Be Killed?
The Australian state of Western Australia has approved an unprecedented set of new measures aimed at protecting beachgoers from sharks after six attacks were recorded in the state this year alone, reports the BBC. Sharks deemed to "pose an imminent threat" to beachgoers will now be systematically caught and possibly killed.
The actions have understandably raised significant concerns from environmentalists and animal activists. How will the threat of shark attack be adequately assessed? How will this effect the local ecosystems? Could this endanger the population numbers of certain targeted species? Will catching and killing select sharks even be effective at reducing the risk of attack? There's also the question of whether the peace of mind of beachgoers is worth the lives of sharks that, in many cases, are protected species.
For instance, great white sharks are the most obvious targets of the new laws, but they are considered a protected species. Previously killing them was only allowed in response to an attack. But now fisheries authorities will be allowed to act preemptively-- a sort of 'Bush doctrine,' if you will, only applied to sharks instead of to terrorists.
Government officials are responding to criticisms by arguing that the new laws may actually aid in shark conservation and research.
"These new measures will not only help us to understand the behavior of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer," State Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement.
September 18, 2012. Apolinari Tairo, ETN Tanzania. Spectacular wildebeest migration returns to Serengeti plains
TANZANIA (eTN) - Standing on the rooftops of their tourist vans with their cameras up, tourists from all corners of the world are now flocking to Tanzania’s leading Serengeti National Park to witness the return of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest from the other side of the park, the Maasai Mara.
Described as “Nature’s Greatest Show on Earth,” the great wildebeest migration has been the most remarkable tourist eye-catching specter that pulls thousands of tourists from across the world to witness this miracle of creation.
The early rains which started this month over the Serengeti plains, covering an area of 14,763 kilometers, changed the natural beauty of this famous African wildlife park into greenery, encouraging the wildebeest to cut short their holiday in Maasai Mara to feed on the plentiful grass back home.
Reports from Tanzania National Parks said a special event of welcoming home the legendary Wildebeest migration has been observed this week by tourists from all corners of the world who enjoyed viewing this natural trek consisting of about 2 million ungulates, among them 1.5 million wildebeests believed to have spent less than a month in Kenya.
This Greatest Show of Nature on Earth (migration) normally covers more than 1,000 kilometers and takes place once a year on a 12-month circle, in which the wildebeests spend 10 months in Tanzania within Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro ecosystem before taking a two-month holiday in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
The wildebeest migration comprises over 2.5 million wild animals with some 1.5 million wildebeests, 800,000 zebras and gazelle in Northern Tanzania and Kenya, and is one of the world's most spectacular wildlife events.
The herbivores are followed closely by their predators - lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals – as they make the migration.
The Serengeti’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root, as well as numerous photographers and scientists.
It is the wildebeest migration for which the Serengeti is perhaps most famous, attracting international travel and tourism organizations to place it among a few tourist sites in Africa listed for voting into the new 7 wonders this year.
The wildebeest travel through a variety of natural areas with a variety of habitat in different forms of vegetation and landscapes within the Serengeti ecosystem.
The Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value. This park has become an important center for scientific research.
In 1959, a German naturalist, professor Bernhard Grzimek, and his son, Michael, did pioneering work in aerial surveys of wildlife. Their surveys resulted in the best-selling classic, “Serengeti Shall Not Die,” and a number of films that made the Serengeti a household name. More is now known about the dynamics of the Serengeti than any other ecosystem in the world.
Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, which is located across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on Earth and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's protected areas.
The child was playing in Brodie Park, Paisley, when the animal attacked her at about 18:00 on Saturday.
The dog grabbed the child's ankle and dragged her to the ground. It bit her mother's hand when she tried to drag it off. The child is being treated in hospital for ankle and foot injuries.
A man in his 30s grabbed the dog and ran off after the attack.
The dog is described as being a "pitbull-type" and the man who took the dog, is described as white, in his 30s, with a slim build, about 6ft tall with short, dark, curly hair.
Following the attack, the two-year-old girl was taken to Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital and later transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.
Insp Alison Kennedy, of Strathclyde Police, said: "This was no doubt an extremely frightening experience for a mother and her child and it's imperative we trace the dog and its owner.
"I would like to appeal to people who may have been in the park at the time of the incident to get in touch with us.
"I am also appealing to people who use this park to walk their dogs - it's possible they may know the man and the dog we are referring to. I would urge them to contact us."
September 6, 2012. BBC. Dunfermline postman hits out after 18th dog bite
A Fife postman has hit out at pet owners after being bitten by a dog for the 18th time in his 20 year career.
Garry Haldane needed treatment after being bitten by a German Shepherd while on his rounds in Dunfermline.
Mr Haldane had been delivering letters to homes near Dunfermline High School when he was attacked on 25 August.
He said it was "not acceptable" for postal workers to be subjected to animal attacks. A 51-year-old man has been cautioned and charged.
Mr Haldane said: "I heard the dog bark and it attacked me from a side alley and bit my leg."
He was taken the nearby Queen Margaret Hospital for treatment to puncture wounds and bruising.
Mr Haldane, a rep for the Communication Workers Union (CWU), has recently been campaigning for postmen to get better protection from dangerous dogs.
In West Fife, postal workers have compiled a list of addresses of dangerous animals after more than 30 dog attacks on Royal Mail employees were reported in the space of 12 months.
That figure was up by 74% on the previous year.
Mr Haldane added: "It is not acceptable that postal workers, or anyone else for that matter, should be subject to dog or animal attacks because they are not under control when we visit the owner's property."
The CWU estimates that about 5,000 postal workers across the UK are attacked every year.
Royal Mail spokeswoman Julie Pirone said its first priority was to ensure the welfare and safety of its employees.
"We regularly communicate with our people about the dangers of dog attacks and provide advice to our postmen and women on techniques to minimise harm in the event of an attack, and keep a register in each delivery office highlighting any potential risk," she said.
"Over £100,000 has been spent on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury.
"However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature."
|Rare Turtle Flown to |
Pic by (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau)
|endangered Turtles protection and|
rescue of endagered species. Pic
(Andy Newman/Florida Keys)
That’s welcome news to some dog owners, including Kristen Smith. Smith lives in Coffee Bluff, but when she was driving down Edgewater Road near Paradise Park recently, she witnessed what she thinks was a blue pit bull attack another dog on a leash.
“This dog came charging out of its backyard and started attacking this woman’s dog — a much smaller dog,” Smith said. “I started blowing my horn and finally the dog went back to its yard.”
The woman with the leashed dog walked away apparently unscathed and on quicker feet, Smith said.
“(The owner) needs to secure the fence better, especially with Bartlett Middle School being right there,” she said. “With school starting back, kids are walking down that street all the time.”
Toughening the ordinance to classify dogs who attack leashed dogs as potentially dangerous, she said, is “probably a good idea.”
Savannah-Chatham police Lt. Brenda Boulware, who commands Animal Control, said she wanted to dispel a common misconception that dogs have to bite someone before action can be taken against them or their owners.
“There is not free bite in Chatham County (and Savannah),” she said. “If a dog charges somebody or attacks aggressively, we can have a potentially dangerous dog hearing separate from a Recorder’s Court hearing.”
Two dogs got into a fight at a McDougal Drive home Aug. 15. The other dog is being returned to its registered owner, said Dr. John Lauby, director of Cumberland County Animal Control.
Dangerous Animal Attacks News
August 31, 2012. BBC. St Leonards dog attacks owner Spencer Brown jailed. A man whose out-of-control dogs attacked 10 people in the street has been jailed for 12 months.
Spencer Brown, 22, had admitted 10 counts of owning dogs dangerously out of control in a public place.
The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, Tilly and Freak, escaped from his East Sussex home, on 22 July.
Brown, of Marline Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, was banned from keeping dogs for life by a judge at Lewes Crown Court.
The court also ordered the dogs to be destroyed.
Aggressive and territorial
Victims of the attack were bitten on their hands, arms and legs as the two dogs walked the area with no leads, while those who came to the victims' aid were also bitten.
The court was told police managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole while a passer-by dragged the other into a cage.
Neither dog was a banned breed, but police recommended they both be destroyed after the kennels where they were being held reported that they remained aggressive and territorial.
The court heard that one of the dogs had attacked weeks before, on 16 May.
The victim, Jason Griggs, suffered multiple cuts and a broken finger in the attack, after a confrontation between him and Brown.
He has has been left unable to work as a self-employed electrician.
Brown, who has eight previous convictions for offences including theft and shoplifting, also admitted owning a dog which caused injury in a private place in the attack on Mr Griggs and possession of cannabis.
Covered in blood
One of the victims of the July attack, Nigel Waughman, told police it was "horrific and nightmarish".
Another, Daniel Smith, bent down to pick up his own Jack Russell but fumbled and was attacked by one of the dogs, causing him to fall into the road.
Prosecutor Gail Purdy said both dogs bit him while he was in the road, leaving him covered in blood and needing hospital treatment.
Mark Glendenning, defending, said Staffordshire bull terriers were sometimes seen as status dogs among young people but this was not Brown's reason for owning them.
Brown was asked to leave home aged 15 and was homeless before being housed by social services in bed and breakfast accommodation.
"The dogs were his family," said Mr Glendenning.
Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Brown the attacks were grave and quite horrific offences which had left victims savagely mauled.
The sentencing comes days after tougher guidelines were brought in for judges under which owners or anyone in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog faces up to two years in jail.
August 28. 2012.BBC. Essex lion: Charting the big cats of Britain
The search for a "lion" in Essex was called off after no trace of the animal could be found.
While many newspapers have suggested the animal may be a large domestic cat a couple who photographed it remain convinced it was not a household pet.
The sighting is not the first time members of the public have claimed to have spotted an exotic animal in Britain.
Stories of big cats go back to the 1960s and 70s when it was legal and fashionable to keep exotic animals as pets.
Dangerous Animals Act
The wealthy could take their lion, tiger or cheetah for a walk around the park without needing a licence.
But in 1976 the government introduced the Dangerous Wild Animals Act to protect the public and animals.
While many owners gave their pets to zoos or put them down rumours started that some people released their animals into the wild where their offspring still roam to this day.
In the mid 1990s photos and video emerged of a large panther-like animal in Cornwall.
Dubbed "the beast of Bodmin" it has been spotted on and off for 20 years.
In 1995 a 14-year-old boy found a leopard skull in a river in Bodmin perhaps lending weight to the beast's existence and its demise.
But scientists at the Natural History Museum found an insect egg case inside the skull which they said proved the animal had not died on the moors.
The skull was thought to have come from the tropics or been stored in a warm warehouse where tropical cockroaches can be found.
The researchers also found cut marks on the back of the skull which showed it had come from a rug or wall trophy suggesting it had probably been dropped into the river by hoaxers.
But sightings and evidence of big cats are not always a hoax.
In Wales there have been a number of reports of big cats sighted in rural areas close to the scene of animal attacks on sheep.
Dogs or foxes may be behind the attacks but some remain convinced the hunter involved is feline in origin.
In February DNA tests on two roe deer discovered dead in Gloucestershire found only saliva relating to foxes.
Last year it was not other animals but a stuffed toy that was behind a big cat sighting.
A life-size toy tiger sparked a major operation involving armed officers and a force helicopter in Southampton.
While no evidence has been found of the Essex lion public fascination with big cats in Britain looks set to continue
August 26, 2012. BBC/Reuters. Tiger mauls zookeeper to death.
A Siberian tiger has attacked and killed a female keeper at a zoo in Germany.
It seems an unlocked gate at Cologne Zoo allowed the tiger, Altai, to get out of its pen and into a store, where it attacked the zookeeper.
The zoo's director then shot the animal through a skylight in the store, before it could go further and get into public areas.
"We cannot yet explain how the keeper could make such a fatal mistake (of failing to close the gate)," zoo director Theo Pagel said.
"I shot and killed the animal so that we could enter... and take a look. But the employee was already dead."
Police briefly cleared the area as a precautionary measure though officials said the public was never in any danger.
Both the tiger and the zookeeper were killed.
The zoo, which later reopened for visitors, said in a statement the keeper had been experienced in working with tigers. She died of her wounds in the cage, not after being taken to hospital as earlier reported.
It is not the first time this year that an animal has escaped from a zoo in Germany.
In July, five chimpanzees got over a fence in Hanover.
In that case though, they were recaptured before anyone was hurt
An animal rights group said the death of the keeper should force the government to reconsider how zoos operate.
"Tragedies like this can only be prevented in the future if people stop considering as recreational fun the locking up of wild animals that have a desire for freedom," said Peter Hoeffken, a zoologist from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Cologne Zoo in western Germany, founded in 1860, is one of the oldest and best-known in the country.
SANTIAGO — Information revealed about José Silva Saldías, the zookeeper at the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo who was attacked by a white tiger last Sunday, casts doubts over the circumstances surrounding the recent tragedy.
Last Sunday, Silva entered the cage of “Pampa,” a white tiger and one of the zoo’s most prized felines. Silva, who has over 25 years over experience in his job, was attempting to feed the animal when things went awry and Pampa attacked the zookeeper. Pampa was then put down by zoo authorities in order to prevent the feline from mauling Silva.
The decision to end the animal’s life ignited passionate complaints from the general public and several animal rights groups, who protested at the zoo on Sunday night.
New information unearthed from zoo records reveals a troubling episode in the zookeeper’s past. In 2002, the zoo opened a court investigation concerning the escape and subsequent death of a puma. In 2003, Silva was sanctioned for the incident, along with six other people. The zookeeper was docked ten percent of his paycheck.
“Ten years ago, Silva was sanctioned for a failure to follow protocol as well as excessive confidence in his relationship with the animal,” stated Mauricio Fabry, director of the Metropolitan Zoo yesterday. However, Fabry explained that Silva had not been on the premises during the puma’s escape; he was merely part of a larger investigation.
Fabry assured the public that the zoo would investigate last Sunday’s incident meticulously, as it led to the death of one of Chile’s most beloved animals.
“The zoo has a very clear protocol, a system that activates cage doors from the outside. A zookeeper does not need to come into contact with a dangerous animal,” Silva explained.
According to protocol, all dangerous animals at the zoo remain confined while their cages are cleaned or their food is brought in. Zookeepers rarely come into direct contact with them.
The zoo director reiterated the inevitability of the animal’s death. “When there is an emergency at the zoo, we have the option to anesthetize the animal, and our zoo is fully equipped to do so. We will only shoot an animal in dire circumstances, when a life is at stake,” Fabry said. “Unfortunately, with José Silva, this was the case. We had to act fast.”
Marcela Tirado, head of the Animal Health Unit of the Metropolitan Zoo, explained that when zoo authorities found Silva, the feline was directly on top of him. Anesthetizing Pampa was not an option, as the weight of the tiger’s body would have crushed Silva.
Silva remains stable in the trauma section of the intensive care unit at the Santiago Workers’ Hospital, as he suffered a fracture to the right shoulder. His other injures are being assessed, but he will most likely need surgery in the next couple of days.
July 29, 2012. Mariana Zepeda. Zookeeper Attacked By Tiger At Santiago Metropolitan Zoo
SANTIAGO — The Metropolitan Zoo of Santiago made headlines this morning when a tiger attacked and injured a zookeeper within his cage.
At 9 a.m., the head of the feline section of the zoo, José Silva, entered the white tiger’s cage in order to feed and clean the animal, a part of his daily routine. Silva, who has more than 25 years of zookeeping experience, was then attacked by the tiger and left badly wounded.
When Silva attempted to exit the cage, the tiger was able to escape. Immediately upon witnessing the tiger’s actions, the zoo’s workers followed the establishment’s protocol and put the feline down.
The zoo director stated this morning: “This has been the worst incident to occur in this zoo in the past 11 years. Thankfully, the zoo wasn’t open for the public yet.”
Silva remains at the Worker’s Hospital. However, he is now out of danger and will begin his recovery.
August 7, 2012. Michael Harper for redOrbit.com. Domestic Cats Are Real Killers And We’ve Got Proof
I can see it in her eyes. Every morning after I wake up and sleepily stumble into my kitchen to pour myself a glass of water or grab some clean clothes from the dryer. After all, who folds clothes anymore?
As I make my way through the house, she lies in wait, crouched in pouncing posture, head poking through the living room blinds just so, keeping an eye out for the squirrels which enjoy a daily breakfast at the dried corn feeder my wife and I placed on our front porch. Sure, there’s a sliding glass door separating her from living in all of her primeval and powerful glory, but it doesn’t do anything to lessen the intense stare in her eyes. On the surface, she’s just a basic, tame house cat, but in her heart, she’s a well-trained killing machine.
And she even plays fetch with my spent beer bottle caps.
Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows just how mysterious and perplexing these creatures can be. Anyone who has ever owned a cat which roams the outdoors knows these creatures can be cold blooded killers, laying their kill on your doorstep as either an offering of gratitude or a warning of your impending fate. One can never tell.
While their predatory nature might be well understood by their owners (or is it masters?), some University of Georgia researchers decided to attach cameras to some 60 or more pet cats as they roamed outdoors to see what happens when these creatures are allowed to tap into their primordial instincts.
“The results were certainly surprising, if not startling,” said Kerrie Anne Loyd, University of Georgia student and lead author of the KittyCam study, speaking to the Detroit Free Press.
“In Athens-Clarke County, (Ga.) we found that about 30% of the sampled cats were successful in capturing and killing prey, and that those cats averaged about one kill for every 17 hours outdoors or 2.1 kills per week. It was also surprising to learn that cats only brought 23% of their kills back to a residence. We found that house cats will kill a wide variety of animals, including: lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes.”
This means that, of all the deaths our cats are responsible for, we only know about less than a quarter of them. Truly frightening.
These UG students performed their research in association with the National Geographic Society’s “crittercam” program, which aims to display how other creatures see the world.
Cat owners volunteered their cats— some happily so no doubt— to wear these small, waterproof cameras to record their activity for 5 to 6 hours each day. All told, the UG researchers were able to capture up to 37 hours of on-the-prowl footage for each cat.
After watching the clips, the researchers concluded that birds made up 13% of these cats’ prey. This means that cats are likely responsible for the deaths of more than 1 billion birds and other animals each year.
And to think, we let them live in our house and buy specialty foods for them.
“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds,” said Dr. George Fenwick, president for the Bird Conservancy, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In fact, cats kill so many birds per year, they’re causing the decline of some bird species.
Now that we’re on to them, it’s possible the cats could join forces and begin to turn their claws on their owners.
Again, this should come as no surprise to any cat owner, as they’ve long suspected it would only be a matter of time before their pets have their final say.
When asked for a comment, my cat looked at me as if annoyed, turned her back, hiked up one leg, and began to clean herself, assumedly getting ready for my demise.
I can see it in her eyes.
“He knows too much,” she thinks as she stares out the window.
August 19, 2012. Laura Bevan. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com. Huge pet snake problem in
Aug 17, 2012. The Times of
A female leopard with two cubs is prowling in the WCL mines and settlements since January. The beasts have been living in the thick bushy area on overburden dump of Mana opencast mine. This is the fourth instance of attack on human in the area. In the earlier three incidents, leopardess had attacked bike-borne travellers on the road, but this was the first time it has entered a residential area to attack a human.
August 16, 2012. APOLINARI TAIRO, ETN Tanzania. Three Tanzania tourist parks set for voting into Seven Natural Wonders of the World
August 9, 2012. Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS) Two suspected ivory dealers held over elephant tusks
TANZANIA (eTN) - Tanzania has refuted the allegation that it had set fire in northern parts of Serengeti to block the annual wildebeest migration to Kenya's Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
A section of Kenya’s media on Monday reported that Tanzanians living around the Serengeti National Park have set the area on fire to block the wildebeest migration.
According to the story, the decision to block the wildebeest migration has brought many concerns to the Kenyan government.
The story further said fires, which have so far lasted two weeks, have delayed hundreds of wildebeests from Serengeti plains gathered on the Mara River from crossing into Kenya.
In a quick rejoinder, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)’s Public Relations Manager, Pascal Shelutete, said the Wildebeest Migration has not been affected as claimed and that the scientific calendar for the migration to cross into the Masai Mara will be in September or October.
In a statement seen by The East African, Mr. Shelutete said what happened in the northern part of Serengeti was “early burning,” which has taken place in an area of not more than 0.5 square kilometers and which actually has no impact at all in wildlife movement patterns.
“Early burning has been practiced for years without affecting the migration which, we are sure our neighbors in the Maasai Mara who are also conservationists are aware of this,” reads part of the official statement.
The General Management Plan of the Serengeti National Park has a fire management scheme, which allows the practice of early burning. This is a type of fire, which is set early while grasses are still green.
The fire is practiced for several reasons, which include reducing the number of destructive insects such as the tsetse fly, and reducing the amount of litter that can catalyze fire during the dry season.
A TANAPA spokesperson further said that early burning facilitates new forage for animals, as some seeds can only germinate after been burnt, and also when old grasses are burnt, new ones germinate.
“In line with this, early burning was practiced in some parts of [the] Northern zone, namely as Wogakuria towards Nyamalumbwa plains,” Mr. Shelutete said, adding, “These areas were selected following [a] high number of tsetse fly and large amount of litter. This excursion is being undertaken every year and has never affected [the] phenomena of migration.”
Annual calendar of migration
As per the annual migration calendar, Mr. Shelutete said it suffices to state that it is not yet time for the main migration to occur in the Masai Mara, as the right time is September and October.
Currently, the main migration is still on movement from the west towards northern part of the Serengeti.
Usually wildebeest and zebra cover 1,000 kilometers in their course of migration throughout the year, the statement said.
Mr. Shelutete further said that scientifically, these migratory animals spend two months at a time during a year in the Masai Mara and the rest of the ten months, wildebeest spend their time in the Serengeti.
“These animals are too many (1.5 millions) and, therefore, cannot stay in one area; they must move in search of new pasture and exchang[e] males to avoid inbreeding,” reads part of the statement.
July 11, 2012. Tigers kill man who scaled fence at Danish zoo
(Reuters) - A man was killed by tigers at a zoo on Wednesday after he scaled a fence and crossed a moat to get into their enclosure in the Danish capital Copenhagen, police said.
The man, in his early 20s, was savaged by three tigers after he broke into Copenhagen Zoo in the early hours. He was dead when staff arrived for work.
"We received an emergency call at about 7:30 a.m. that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person," police Superintendent Lars Borg told Reuters.
"The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death," Borg said.
Police said the man, who had not yet been identified, may have entered the enclosure as a way of committing suicide.
They said he was not Danish but his nationality was not yet known. He had a Denmark resident's permit.
Psychologists have been called to the zoo to talk to staff who found the body, the zoo's chief executive Steffen Straede said.
June 20, 2012. JILLIAN DUNHAM. The New York Times. Worries About a Dolphin in the Hudson
What was an offshore bottlenose dolphin doing in Harlem?
“It might have taken the A train and leapt with ease over the turnstile,” joked Carl Safina, an ecologist and professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
Since Sunday, the Long Island-based Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has received several reports of what is believed to be a six- or seven-foot-long offshore bottlenose dolphin swimming in the Hudson, from 90th Street to the George Washington Bridge. News reports also put the dolphin around 14th Street Sunday afternoon.
Kimberly Durham, a biologist and the director of Riverhead’s rescue program, said that the foundation has received reports of dolphins in the river before but the facts that it appeared to be a species called the offshore bottlenose, usually found in cold, deep water, and that it was alone, gave cause for concern. The foundation is eager to hear more reports of the animal’s location.
Ms. Durham said the most recent reports the foundation received were unconfirmed sightings of a dolphin swimming near the George Washington Bridge and 225th Street on Tuesday morning.
“We don’t tend to see them close to shore,” she said. “If we do, it can be an indication that something is not right.”
Offshore bottlenose dolphins are normally seen in groups about 75 miles offshore. They are a separate species from other kinds of bottlenose dolphins, whose presence in the lower reaches of a big river like the Hudson would be less alarming.
Ms. Durham and Mr. Safina said there could be many causes for the animal’s presence in the Hudson River, including bacterial infections, injuries from passing boats and brain damage from parasites that can impair a dolphin’s ability to use sonar.
The Riverhead Foundation responds to about 50 strandings of dolphins, porpoises and whales in the New York and Long Island Sound area every year; most of the animals have died.
“One of the things we do find in animals that are undernourished or sick is a higher incidence of marine debris in their G.I. tract,” Ms. Durham said. “If you have an animal too weakened to go after its natural prey, it’s going to go for the easy meal and that is often going to be trash.”
In 2007, the foundation rescued an offshore bottlenose dolphin it named Seabreeze. Seabreeze had gastritis, a serious stomach infection. He was released after four months of rehabilitation and was tracked swimming as far north as Newfoundland.
Mr. Safina that said chemical pollutants in rivers and industrial areas, an increase in mercury from burning coal and a broader range of bacterial and infectious agents pose additional risks to dolphins.
“The amount of fertilizer runoff is causing an increase in algal blooms and some of those are harmful,” he said. When marine mammals eat fish that were feeding on toxin-producing algae, they can be poisoned.
“It’s always been a difficult world, even without people, and people made it much more difficult,” Mr. Safina said.
To report a dolphin sighting, call the Riverhead Foundation hot line: 631-369-9829.
February 10, 2012. Five killed in Tiger attacks
BAITADI, Thirteen-year-old Asha Koli died in a tiger attack at Salla in Pancheshwor, Baitadi district, on Wednesday.
Asha, daughter of Maniram Koli, had fallen prey to the beast at a nearby forest while collecting firewood. Kitthi Saud and a child of the same VDC are the latest victims of a beast's attack.
Local people, who are scared to move freely even during the day, shut themselves in their houses as soon as it is evening.
“We are helpless,” said Dinesh Chand, a local resident. People fear to send their children to school.
“A group of four to five tigers come and attack people. How can we send children to school in such a situation?” Prem Sarki of Pancheshwor-6 wondered.
Karan Saud in the locality said a tiger had strayed from a conservation area in India and had entered Nepal after Indian security force and forest officials tried to catch it.
The people have asked the administration to tame the beasts. In the last one and a half months, five people, including two Indian nationals, have been killed in their attack.